Why are there mushrooms growing on my house plant?

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I bet most people in the world have no idea the shock one experiences when they happen upon a surprise mushroom in their home. Let’s assume you have, hence finding this article.

It’s only happened to me once, when I found a mushroom chilling in my chronically overwatered (not by me) string of pearls plant. I assumed something was deathly wrong, and nearly hurled the whole thing out of the window, but luckily I didn’t, because it’s fine.

Mushrooms growing in your house plants aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but they could be a sign of overwatering, really fertile soil, or just that somewhere along the line some spores got into your plant. They won’t harm your plant.

Where did the mushrooms in my house plant come from?

There are a few reasons you’ve ended up with mushrooms in your soil:

  • Spores were present in the soil

This is the most likely explanation for the mushrooms in your soil. Mushrooms spores were flying around somewhere near the plant, and a few dropped into the soil.

This could have happened anywhere along the supply chain: in the manufacturing of soil (is it called manufacturing? Wherever soil comes from, anyway), in the nursery where the plant was grown, whilst it was being shipped, or in the garden centre you bought it from.

  • Your potting mix is rich

Mushrooms thrive in rich soil, so the spores can germinate easily. It seems that Miracle Gro Soil is notorious for growing mushrooms, so if you don’t want them, avoid Miracle Gro.

  • You’re overwatering your plants

This could be an issue, but you’d be more likely to get mould than mushrooms if this were the case.

If you’re new to house plants, you may find getting a moisture metre makes things a bit easier. You can pick this one up from Amazon pretty cheaply – between $10 and $15.

Are mushrooms dangerous to my plant?

In short, no.

Chances are, the mushrooms growing in your house plant pot are Leucopcoprinus birnbaumii. They’re usually pale yellow in colour and have gills on the undersides of the cap.

They won’t damage your plant because they obtain their nutrients from decaying matter – they’re competing with fungus gnats, not your plant.

However, Leucopcoprinus birnbaumii reproduce by sending out spores, so if you have one, you’ll probably end up with lots. They live in tropical areas, so if you live somewhere with a more temperate climate, they probably won’t be able to reproduce as readily as they could in warmer temperatures.

If you find them growing alongside your vegetables, they won’t affect the taste or toxicity of your crop.

Are they dangerous to me?

The spores in the air don’t provide a health hazard, although they thrive in similar conditions to mould, so check that you don’t have any of that hanging around.

The mushrooms can be toxic, but as long as you don’t eat them, they’re harmless.

Do I need to get rid of the mushrooms in my plant?

If there are only adult humans in your home, then no.

Mushrooms only pose a threat if they’re ingested, so if you have kids or pets that might like to snack on a plant pot mushrooms, it’s probably best to either try to remove them, or to put the plant somewhere where it can’t be reached by little hands or paws.

How do you get rid of mushrooms in plants?

To be honest, it’s not always easy, especially if you live in a warmer climate where the spores are hanging around in the air.

You can simply pluck out the mushrooms when they appear. Pluck them out by the stem, not the cap, since you’ll probably just pull the cap off.

One of the more successful ways to remove mushrooms is to re-pot the plant in fresh new soil (or remove the top 1/2 inches of soil if the plant would be compromised by a full re-pot. I have a whole article on how to repot house plants properly.

Be sure that when you repot your house plant, you thoroughly wash the pot in hot, soapy water. You can add a drop of bleach if you like, just to be sure you’ve removed all the spores.

There are loads of commercial fungicides on the market, but I’ve never used one, so can’t really recommend a specific one. In order for the fungicide to be successful, you have thoroughly soak the soil in the solution.

Just be aware that some plants have symbiotic fungi at their roots, so you can damage the plant by killing off beneficial fungi.

To be honest, I’d just pluck the mushrooms out and leave it at that. They can be a sign of healthy soil, and they’re not doing any harm.

Is there anything I can do to stop mushrooms growing in my house plant’s soil?

In all honestly, not really.

Unless you decide to convert all your plants to semi hydroponics.

Mushrooms thrive in warm, humid conditions, and if you starve them of that by putting them somewhere cool and dry, you could end up damaging your plant.

There are, however, a few good plant husbandry tips that will both help your plant and reduce the chances of mushrooms growing:

  • Don’t overwater your plant – even moisture-loving plants could stand to have the top of their soil dried out. I have an article on how to stop overwatering your plants if that’s one of your vices.
  • Remove decaying matter (like dead leaves) from the surface of your soil. This will also deter fungus gnats.
  • Add perlite to your potting so that it’s not quite as rich and hummus-y
  • Don’t use garden compost for house plants unless you can sterilise it. Not only is it perfect for growing mushrooms, but you also don’t know what else is living in it.

In short, don’t worry about mushrooms if you’re not overwatering. Don’t eat them, keep them out of reach of kids and pets, and pick them out if they bug you.

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27 thoughts on “Why are there mushrooms growing on my house plant?”

  1. Thanks for the great info! I have a small potter weeping willow. Put a thing layer of mulch ontop the potting soil. I heard it helps retain moisture in the soil for plants that like extra water. Do you think the mulch could be encouraging the mushroom growth?

  2. Yeah, it could be, but since weeping willow can grow in soggy soil, I wouldn’t worry too much.

  3. Thanks for the great info! Our basil herb plant and mint plant are growing some cute ones in the soil… Are we still safe to eat the basil and mint?


  4. As far as I’m aware, as long as your plants weren’t touching the mushrooms they should be perfectly safe to eat. Best wash it extra thoroughly just in case though.

  5. Just found several growing in my Hibiscus, which is in the sunroom – very hot!! Thanks for the information – they actually look “cute” so I think I will leave them for a bit, As soon as the fall comes, the room will be much cooler and I am sure they will die at that time.

  6. Thanks for the info! I’ve had a problem with my dog eating outdoor mushrooms and vomiting, just found several varieties of Amanita mushrooms in the yard (deadly poisonous!) so was freaked when I discovered some that look similar in a house plant. We were just out of town for a bit, I’m guessing my house sitters just over watered a little. If the mushrooms return I’ll be repotting as you suggested to make sure the pooch doesn’t get into anything he shouldn’t. House plants don’t temp him, but he apparently LOVES mushrooms.

  7. Aw bless him! He’d probably be ok, maybe an upset stomach but best to be on the safe side. Yeah, once the soil dries out they’ll probs not return.

  8. I loved seeing the mushroom randomly grow. But wasn’t sure if was a good or bad thing. Thank you for this article!
    I will now be following your posts!!

  9. Thanks a lot for the helpful information I was so worried I thought the mushroom were harmful or even deadly but it’s a nice fat thick fungi it’s really a sight for sore eyes I’m just saying but my foliage plant is so beautiful and colorful I’m going to keep it and resoil my plant
    September 23 1:23 am

  10. My.mushrooms are looking healthier than my once super beautiful indoor gardenias. Thank you for the article information. I.ll let them be

  11. I was so worried about my plant when I saw these little mushrooms growing, but your post reassured me that all is well with my plant lol. Thank you for this!

  12. Thank you for this! I have a mini mushroom forest growing in my corn plant! I was freaking out thinking I was killing beautiful lady.

  13. I feel like the bot on the plant id subreddit but DON’T EAT THE MUSHROOMS UNLESS YOU KNOW 100% WHAT THEY ARE. C

  14. Wow – this was super helpful! I have a half barrel on my back deck that I planted blueberry bushes in, and we’ve had a lot of rain in the last two months in GA (so much so that I haven’t watered since around April; it’s nearly the end of July) and it’s been a hot summer so far. A crop of mushrooms popped up over the mulch – first just a couple, then the entire barrel was filled…they’re white and fluffy – kind of “pretty”. I’m so relieved to know they aren’t harmful to my blueberries! Re-potting this beast of a planter would be quite an ordeal, so not entertaining that. I have no children or pets around, so no danger there…still contemplating whether to pluck or leave them (based on the fact they’re likely the sign of fertile soil). Thanks for the information!! :o)

  15. The only reason I can think of to remove them (other than…because you want to) is that they MIGHT take up nutrients your blueberries need. But if they’re pretty and don’t seem to be affecting your yield, leave them be!

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